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Why the Greater Sacramento Region would continue under a stay-at-home order even if ICU bed capacity goes back above 15%

The stay-at-home order was triggered when ICU bed capacity in the region fell below 15%, and it will take three weeks before the state lifts the order.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — ICU capacity numbers from Monday morning showed the Greater Sacramento Region had climbed above 15% of beds available, but this does not mean the region is reopening early. 

The numbers shifted again on Monday afternoon back down to 14.8% capacity available, but for a few hours on Monday morning, the Greater Sacramento Region sat at 15.1% ICU bed capacity, even as coronavirus cases rise statewide.

However, unlike California's previous color-coded tier model, the new stay-at-home order does not lift for a mandatory three weeks, not even if ICU capacity jumps above 15%. After the end of the three week period, the state will then look to ICU capacity as a factor in reopening. 

The 13 county region that includes Sacramento, Placer, Yolo and El Dorado counties was put under a stay-at-home order beginning late on Thursday, Dec. 10 after ICU bed capacity hovered around 13%. The Greater Sacramento region followed San Joaquin and Southern California regions, the first two regions to go under the stay-at-home order. Many non-essential businesses had to close, while restrictions were added to retail and dining to help curb COVID-19. 

Though the Greater Sacramento Region is now trending in a positive direction relating to ICU bed capacity, there are still weeks — and more than a few holidays that will likely result in gatherings — before the metric will come into play. 

Over the weekend, the percentage of available intensive care unit beds in the San Joaquin Valley Region dropped to 0.0% for the first time on Saturday, according to the state's tracking website. As of Monday morning, that number has climbed back up to 1.5%. 

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